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Saturday, 5 January 2013

3 Caspian Gulls at Prisorlee Lake!

Adult and 1st winter Caspian Gull

 03.30 this morning, we made the long trek south to Newquay from Shropshire only to turn around and return back! We stopped off at the Exeter Services north bound to have a break and to look at the 4 Waxwing that have been in the area. First we had to find the bloody things! This was made easy when we saw some birders from the restaurant window outside gazing at an berry tree with no Waxwings! They told me that they had flown towards the tall Populers on top of the hill only ten minutes ago. At the top of the hill I could hear them and found my mate and talented wildlife artist, John Gale, with his two sons taking pics of all 4 Waxwing feeding on Rose-hips low down.

All 4 Waxwing showing as usual at very close range

  As we were nearing home, I had a quick scan at the 300 or so gulls on Prisorlee Lake. However, this turned out to be more than a few minutes as I immediately found a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull quickly followed by an adult Caspian Gull! This must be the adult I had yesterday just up road at Candles. Pete Nicholas arrived and I put him on the Caspian and in 10 minutes had 4 more Yellow-legged Gull. I had been there 30 minutes and mum, who was in the car, was starting to get a little cheesed off with me. I returned a few minutes later and started scanning from the right of the gull flock and came across a 1st winter Caspian Gull! A birder from just up road joined me and just as I was going to put him on the Caspian, the adult Caspian joined it! Although the light was fading fast, I told him that it looked different to the other adult I had earlier, appearing smaller. I fired off some shots of both gulls together and then at the same time they flew off  to the center of the main flock.
  It's only when I returned home later and went though the pics, that I discovered that it was indeed a different adult Caspian Gull! That's, 2 adult and 1 1st winter Caspian Gull and 2 adult and one each of a 1st, 2nd and 3rd winter Yellow-legged Gull!

The first adult Caspian Gull was a big male and more than likely the bird I had yesterday at Candles Landfill Tip

While this adult later on was probably a female. It also had shorter primaries on the left wing which you can clearly see between the two birds from the record shots above

1st winter Caspian Gull flying off towards the center of the roost
There has now been up to 7 different Caspian Gulls in this area and if this 1st winter can be identified as a different bird from the 2 1st winters found at Candles just before Christmas, then this could prove to be 8!

2nd and 3rd winter Yellow-legged Gulls

  Yesterday at 14.00, I dropped off my daughter at the town center cinema with her friends. I had two hours to kill before I returned to pick them up after the film. As Candles Landfill Tip was just up road, I thought I would give it a go. I had been there an hour and all I had seen was 3 Yellow-legged Gulls. Then I came across an adult Caspian Gull a long ways off. As there had been no adults recorded this winter in the county, this made it a new bird! Also a long ways off, I got onto what looked like a 2nd winter Caspian Gull. However, it was always hidden by other gulls which made it very hard to observe. In the minute it was there I managed to get some record shots and this confirmed that it was one. Altogether I had 2 Caspian and 6 Yellow-legged Gull. (2 1st and 2nd winter and 2 adults) There were also an impressive number of over 60 Great black-backed Gull

A large adult Caspian Gull, probably a male. Note the yellow tinge to the legs. Olsen and Larsson commented that 12% of Ukrainian Caspian Gulls show yellow legs. Is this the case with this bird maybe? 

Just look at the tibia and legs on this 2nd winter Caspian Gull 
In the last few days I have seen a total of 5 different Caspian Gulls in the county, including the sub-adult

If that wasn't enough, this hybrid thing turned up! Any ideas? 

Absolutely outstanding song! The Suffering Song appears on the album Regard the End. Willard Grant Conspiracy Originally formed by Robert Fisher and Paul Austin in 1995 in Boston, Massachusetts, the band operates as a collective, with vocalist Fisher the only permanent member. Up to thirty other musicians occasionally contribute to the band, both in the studio and during live performances. They haven't released an album since 'Papers Cover Store' in 2009

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